By Rep. RICK WEST
Last week, my first bill went before the entire House of Representatives, and it passed.
The measure adds artificially implanted medical devices to living wills. It made it through the process with only a few questions. One member asked me if it was a request bill, meaning an organization had requested legislation. I responded, “Yes, it’s a request bill by Rep. Rick West.” I’m glad it passed, and it now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Lawmakers also sent several bills through committee that could impact House District 3.
In the Agricultural and Rural Development Committee, where I’m the vice chair, we heard House Bill 1304. Basically, it allows municipalities to receive a waiver for the three-mile setback for swine feeding operations. This means towns can opt to allow feeding outlets to run a business within that three-mile radius. Feeders that are already operating within that zone will be grandfathered in, and they can build on (up to a certain point) without obtaining an additional license.
We’ve got a lot of hog feeders in our part of the state, so this will be a great asset. Every member of the committee thought it was a good piece of legislation too, and the bill passed unanimously with a 14 to 0 vote.
I’m also on the County and Municipal Government Committee, and last week we passed House Bill 1259 requiring people running for county sheriff to be a current certified peace officer. The bill also removes the population threshold.
Members also passed House Bill 1516, which modifies the prohibition declaring county property surplus during the election of a county commissioner. Right now, no property may be declared surplus beginning 30 days prior to the filing period for the election of any county commissioner until after the commissioner is sworn into office. The bill would change this rule to two county commissioners, allowing a board of county commissioners to declare surplus property if only one of three commissioners is up for election.
And lastly, we passed House Bill 2231 authorizes sheriff departments to hire outside counsel to provide immediate representation to a deputy who is involved in a deputy-involved shooting.
The Appropriations & Budget Committee approved a teacher pay bill last week. House Bill 1114 provides teachers a $6,000 raise over the next three years: $1,000 the first year, $2,000 the next, and $3,000 the third year. Currently, there is no funding mechanism, but I think it’s the will of the House to make something happen.
All of these bills are now eligible to be heard on the House floor.
As you probably know, the LeFlore County Livestock Show was last weekend, and I was happier than the town dog. The high caliber of 4H and FFA students in our county continue to impress me, and I hope we never take for granted those great organizations. The ag teachers have a unique job working so close with their students and parents, and I tip my hat to their dedication and hard work.
The folks from Adams Abstract came by and visited me at the Capitol last week. It was great to see them and show them around a bit. I hope everyone knows they’re welcome to do the same.
You can call my office at (405) 557-7403 or email me at [email protected]. And remember, I’m on KPRV every Friday at 7:35 a.m., and then I’m at the LeFlore County GOP Office from 9 a.m. until noon. God bless.
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